Financial stress is a huge problem for people’s mental health and wellbeing. So, what can you do to take control of it?
- Focus on what you can control
While there are some things in your life that you can control, there are others that you can’t do much about. Dwelling on such stressors is only likely to cause you further stress due to the constant frustration of not being able to change them.
To improve your situation, you should instead prioritize things that you have control over. A good example of this is your food budget. Not unless you are already on a bare-bones budget, you can always find ways to cut down your grocery bills, for example, by choosing cheaper store brand products. This not only allows you to save money but also gives you a feeling of accomplishment and being in control which can help to boost your mood and lower your stress levels.
- Look for ways to earn more money
You can only limit your budget so far before making things even more stressful for yourself. Increasing your income level instead is bound to improve your situation and reduce your financial stress.
Here are some ways of increasing your income that you should consider if you are in a bind:
Put in some extra hours at work: You can talk to your employer about working extra hours each week, if you get paid on an hourly basis or are eligible for overtime pay.
Negotiate for a raise: With the high rate of inflation and a tightening labor market, employers are much more willing to grant pay rises.
Take on a second job: Getting a secondary source of income is always a great way of boosting your spending power. You can consider gigs such as tutoring, delivering food, or running a blog.
- Prioritize essential bills
In case you are worried about not being able to meet all your financial obligations, focus on paying essential bills first. Sorting through and prioritizing your bills is beneficial in the following ways:
– It serves as a budgeting exercise putting you in a position to carefully think about the things you spend your money on. This allows you to spot bills that can be reduced or eliminated.
– It helps you to know and prepare early for the bills that you will pay first meaning that you won’t have to scramble to make decisions.
– Having cover for big expenses in the home can also help. Boilers for example can be a big cost and having help with boiler cover can prevent unexpected expenses in this area.
The above benefits ultimately help lower your financial anxiety and allow you to sleep better.
- Save money (if you can)
Establish a savings plan.
Creating and sticking to a consistent savings plan is among the list of things that you have control over. Regularly saving money helps to give you a sense of accomplishment that lowers your anxiety levels. Also, knowing that you have some money saved up in case of emergency situations will give you some peace of mind.
We recommend putting the money into a high-yield saving account if you want to keep it accessible but not just lying idle. The thing about high-yield savings accounts is that they offer higher rates than standard savings accounts and serve as an excellent vehicle for emergency funds. Consider setting up an automatic transfer from your checking account to ensure that you contribute a certain amount to your savings every month.
After setting up an emergency fund, consider putting any extra savings into a certificate of deposit (CD). Here, you consent to keep the funds in the account for a set period of time for which you earn a guaranteed return rate that is typically higher than traditional savings accounts.
- Keep track of your money-saving progress
You won’t know whether you are really improving if you don’t track your money-saving progress. You need to know how you are faring.
Tracey Bisset, president at Bisset Financial Fitness, advises that you take the time to figure out your exact financial situation. Keeping track of your progress allows you to determine whether the actions you are taking are actually helping.
Knowing your progress is also beneficial in that if you are making progress towards your financial goals, for example, paying off debt, the positive psychological effects will help boost your mood and health. Being relaxed with healthy diet and the right food and health supplements can also make a big difference. Failure to track your financial goals hinders you from realizing how much progress you are actually making and whether there are some changes that you need to make to improve the outcome.